What About Joan ABC, Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m. E.T.;

My Wife And Kids ABC, Wednesdays, 8 p.m. E.T.

Bette may be gone, but the star-vehicle sitcom train of 2000-01 sputters on. The always adorable Joan Cusack is betrayed by the relationship comedy Joan, which cranks up her neurotic cuteness to clinically diagnosable levels and plays a little like a live-action version of Cathy. Damon Wayans fares better as a besieged patriarch in Wife, but it too visibly strains to be a 21st century Cosby Show, less because of the bourgie African-American milieu than because of the tiredly wisecracking Huxtabilitude it shoehorns the acerbic Wayans into.

--By James Poniewozik


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